Swimming in Scottish snow


Back in 2010, I lived in the UK for half a year, as part of my PhD program. Though I was based in London, I made frequent trips to all the great climbing locations in the country, but probably enjoyed none more than my Scottish winter expeditions, always true adventures when done over the weekend with 10 hours drive each way! This is also where I learned how to climb proper mixed terrain, and a good learning ground it was.

In 2014, with a few Chamonix seasons under my belt, I was keen to come back, and a talk at the Telegraph Outdoor Show gave me the perfect opportunity. I had the pleasure to spend a week near Glencoe with my friend and climbing partner Jean-Baptiste. We based ourselves at the absolutely amazing Strath Lodge in Glencoe (I can’t imagine a friendlier, more welcoming place in all of the UK), on the recommendation of expedition leader, Montane athlete and photoshoot model Jon Gupta.

It being Scotland, we expected the conditions to be challenging. It is, after all, half the fun. What we hadn’t planned for was a ridiculous snowpack, with pretty much all the routes buried deep and high avalanche danger. In the end, we only succeeded on a single route, the very fun North Buttress of Buachaille Etive Mor, and bailed on the Douglas Boulder in hurricane conditions, as well as on the avalanche-threatened approach to Stob Coire nan Lochan, but we had some serious adventures, a lot of type II fun and I got some cool images to boot. Not a bad trip by any measure.


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